True Blue: A Wingate & Finchley fan’s view of the draw at East Thurrock
10:40 18 August 2014
The Ham&High’s Wingate & Finchley blogger Simon Swingler reflects on Saturday’s goalless draw away at unbeaten East Thurrock.
Since our disappointing result on the opening day of the season, The Blue Gods have taken an impressive four points from two away games.
A stunning 4-1 victory away at Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday night was followed up by a solid goalless draw away at unbeaten East Thurrock on Saturday.
On Tuesday we took an early lead through Ola Sogbanmu, only to surrender the lead a few minutes later - and we all feared a repeat of the defensive frailties that hindered us on the opening day against Leiston at Summers Lane.
However, the central defensive partnership of Kieron Street and James Kaloczi stood firm and provided a solid base for the more offensive players in the starting 11 to plunder three more goals at the other end through Scott Shulton and a brace from David Knight.
On Saturday we made the first of many trips to Essex to play East Thurrock, who, at this point, boasted two wins from their opening two games - they also have yet to concede a goal this season.
Although the game probably wasn’t much fun to watch as a spectacle for the neutral observer, the importance of a solid away point cannot be understated.
Since the opening day, when our defence looked leakier than a sieve, the back four have tightened up considerably and the fact that we only conceded once in two away games is an impressive stat.
This has presented head coach Danny Nielson with a slight selection headache as captain Marc Weatherstone and Ahmet Rifat return from their respective suspensions.
The fact that Marc was unused substitute on Saturday is testament to the performances of the back four in the past couple of games, and also indicates that we currently boast more strength in depth than we probably possessed throughout the whole of the last campaign.
We currently have the nucleus of a decent squad, which should mean we’re not quite so close to the relegation zone this term.
However, whether this current bunch of Blue Gods can be kept together is another matter entirely.
Players at this level are rarely contracted to the club, merely registered with them, which has its pros and cons.
One on hand, if it isn’t working out for a player at a club, he can leave easily for pastures new. But it also leaves clubs like Wingate vulnerable to bigger clubs who can offer a player more money than we can.
If one of these clubs takes a liking to one of your players there is very little you can do about them simply swapping their registration so they can play for the new club. Ultimately the player possesses all the power in this situation.
A fine example of this was during the 2012/13 season when we boasted an impressive strike force of Dan Brown and Spencer Bellotti. But the moment these two started hitting the back of the net on a regular basis, Staines Town came in for Brown and Canvey Island came in for Bellotti.
It’s a conundrum but one most clubs at this level have to live with.
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